Since school ended, I’ve not only been relaxing, but I’ve also been honing my CSS and HTML skills. Specifically, I’ve been attempting to code a layout for my personal Tumblr.
And before I hear a collective groan or squeal (depending on the person), I would like to be one of the many to say that Tumblr is literally just a collection of people with a variety of interests and passions, just like college. That being said, Tumblr has an interesting platform available to those who would like to customize their themes: individuals can choose from the Theme Garden, or they can code their own using the provided codes here.
I have coded layouts in the past for other writing platforms and so, have retained many of the skills gained from coding them. Coding becomes–and I’ll unfortunately use the tired cliché here– like riding a bicycle; you never quite forget how to do it exactly. Although the cliché is tired, my passion for coding isn’t.
It began in middle school…
To escape the terror that was middle school (Don’t lie! You all know of its terribleness!), I spent time learning how to design web pages. I accomplished this using a website called W3Schools, which opened an entirely new digital world to me. No longer could I just act as a consumer, but I could also become a producer. I could gain the ability to generate content and actually add to the web that I’d been scouring. Keep in mind that this is back in the mid-2000s, so this was around the time the first iPhone was released. (Wow, does that make me feel super old.) Web design was pretty far ahead, but it was not what it is now.
Coming back to the present, my challenge was to code my Tumblr layout.
Usually when I undertake a challenge such as this, I follow a procedure learned from past successes and failures.
1. STAKE OUT THE COMPETITION
Look at how others have coded their layouts. Often, if you like something specific on a blog, you can View Source and look at the code that spawned the cool design. By looking at other layouts, you’re basically researching the designs that you like best and would want on your own blog. However, if the author does not allow it, make sure you do not copy and paste their code into your own layout unless specified that you can do so. Stealing someone else’s hard work is obviously bad, not to mention rude.
2. CREATE A LABYRINTH TO CAGE ALL YOU OWN FOREVER a.k.a. SKETCH A DESIGN
You can literally do this anywhere. I usually draw up designs in Photoshop because not only can I easily make and outline the entire webpage, but I can also choose palettes of colors. However, sometimes it helps to use your hands so I opted for a sketchbook and a collection of colored pencils this time.
I enjoy minimalist sorts of layouts, minimalist and modern. That’s why my page seems sort of bare. That, and I haven’t finished yet. Also, you can see the the palette of colors I played with on the side. I’m not going to use all of them, but it helps to see them all scribbled out next to each other.
3. CODE FOR YOUR LIFE
I think this is pretty self-explanatory. Using the resources of the internet and your own creativity and motivation, code out the layout. Then you can add embellishments, like changing the color(s) of the links.
And once you learn to code, it will no longer look like this: